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Updated: 7 hours 38 min ago

China to ban domestic ivory trade by 2017

30. December 2016 - 1:00
Beijing, China, 30 December 2016 – WWF and TRAFFIC welcomed today's historic announcement that China will close down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, signalling an end to the world's primary legal ivory market and a major boost to international efforts to tackle the elephant poaching crisis in Africa.
The General Office of the State Council of China announced that China will "cease part of ivory processing and sales by 31 March 2017 and cease all ivory processing and sales by 31 December 2017".

Lo Sze Ping, CEO of WWF-China said: "WWF applauds China's decision to ban its domestic ivory trade so swiftly, underlining the government's determination and strong leadership to reduce demand for ivory and help save Africa's elephants."
"Closing the world's largest legal ivory market will deter people in China and beyond from buying ivory and make it harder for ivory traffickers to sell their illegal stocks."
At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held in South Africa in October, the delegates adopted a resolution calling for all countries with a legal domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade to take measures to close their domestic ivory markets.
 "Now that three of the world's largest domestic ivory markets – China, Hong Kong SAR and the US – are being phased out, we hope that other countries will follow suit," said Lo Sze Ping. "China and the US have shown how quickly markets can be addressed and the sooner the better for Africa's elephants."

In August 2016, WWF and TRAFFIC released key recommendations that found a ban could be implemented within two years and that it would raise people's awareness of elephant conservation and help law enforcement tackle the illegal trade.

"TRAFFIC stands by, ready to provide technical support for monitoring ivory markets and to help build law enforcement capacity to assist the effective implementation of the domestic ivory ban in China," said Zhou Fei, Head of TRAFFIC's China office.

While elephant poaching in Africa appears to have peaked in 2011, around 20,000 continue to be killed illegally each year across the continent, primarily to feed demand for ivory in Asia, particularly in China.

While closing all commercial domestic ivory markets will have a major impact, bans alone will not stop the illegal ivory trade if demand persists. WWF and TRAFFIC encourage the Chinese government to continue their efforts to reduce demand for ivory, raise public awareness and work with other governments, conservation organisations, the private sector and local communities to end the illegal ivory trade – and give Africa's elephants a future free from poaching.
Last October's CITES meeting also provided an opportunity to enhance international efforts to end the poaching and ivory trafficking by strengthening the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process, which was launched at the previous Conference of the Parties (CoP) in Bangkok in 2013 and is beginning to yield results. Along with 18 other Asian and African countries, China has had to develop and implement an ivory action plan as part of the global response to the current crisis.
"Closing legal markets is an important step but the illegal trade will continue to flourish unless countries rigorously implement their national ivory action plans," said Zhou Fei.
The publication of the timetable stems from a joint commitment that the presidents of China and the United States made during their meeting in Washington in September 2015 to impose near-total ivory bans in their countries. New federal regulations were enacted in the US on 6 July that almost completely prohibit the domestic ivory trade.
Meanwhile, the authorities in Hong Kong announced last week that they would phase out the city's commercial domestic ivory trade by 2021, although a WWF feasibility study found that it could be done within two years.

CBD COP13 closes in Cancun

17. December 2016 - 1:00
Statement on COP 13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity

On the occassion of the closing of COP 13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun, Mexico, Adrian Dellecker, WWF International, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy (a.i.), said:
"Delegates came to Cancun in the spotlight of recent international deals on climate change and sustainable development with the dual challenges of reversing dramatic decreases in biodiversity and delivering on their Aichi promises.
"The success of Cancun lies in the bold decision taken to deepen the integration of biodiversity values into other sectors. Delegates also decided on a clear process through 2020, including the consideration of energy and mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and health in decision making in the 2018 Conference of Parties in Egypt.
"It is impossible to forget that we are more than halfway through the Aichi biodiversity targets deadline. Our attention must be intensely focused on the path to 2020 and the work that needs to be delivered by then.
"While this meeting was not designed to capture headlines, governments have begun waking up to the fact that biodiversity and climate change are two sides of the same coin, and that to achieve sustainable development, both our climate and natural systems must be adequately addressed. By putting energy and infrastructure, among other issues, at the heart of the next round of discussions, countries have increased the profile of upcoming meetings. This decision will also better link the original Rio Conventions on climate and biodiversity.
"Biodiversity conservation is an essential element of sustainable development and needs to be part of our everyday thinking. The Mexican presidency set an important tone for this meeting by focusing on the theme of integrating biodiversity into decision making across sectors. We are heartened that this fundamental approach is building in pace. It is critically important that the momentum continues to increase as we look to the Conference of Parties in China in 2020."

Biodiversity Convention and WWF champion biodiversity awareness

14. December 2016 - 1:00
WWF signs MOU in support of Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 (ABT1) to ensure people understand the value of biodiversity and take the steps necessary for its sustainable use.

  • MoU facilitates bringing together CBD Parties, organizations, communications platforms and initiatives that demonstrate the values of biodiversity and build engagement
  • Parties to the MoU will convene a task force on creating and implementing communications strategy for ABT1 by 2020
  • Joint initiatives begin as early as 2017

 The Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity (SCBD) and WWF International have signed an MoU to collaborate in implementing CBD's Global Communications Strategy together with CBD Parties, partners and the broader conservation community to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 (ABT1) by 2020.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by CBD's Executive Secretary Braulio de Souza Dias and WWF International's Director General Marco Lambertini, will see WWF working to champion Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 (ABT1) to ensure people understand the value of biodiversity and take the steps necessary for its sustainable use. This partnership intends to drive CBD's Global Communication Strategy as a matter of urgency to make progress in achieving that target by 2020.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias said "We need to make greater efforts to promote and raise awareness of the values of biodiversity to people around the world.  This partnership will allow us to work together with WWF to do this, and to bring together other important actors in this same regard"

Marco Lambertini said, "as biodiversity decreases, we are weakening nature's ability to provide the vital services we require—clean water, fresh air, food and a stable climate. These are all essential for human survival. Biodiversity health is an indicator of our relationship with the planet, and the foundation for functioning ecosystems. I am delighted that we will be working with SCBD and the environmental community to raise awareness and build a strong case for conserving earth's diversity of life, for us and the planet."

The MoU will be implemented in collaboration with the members of the Informal Advisory Committee (IAC) on Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA). WWF and SCBD will work to facilitate the activities of an IAC Task Force that will engage with CBD Parties and the broader conservation community to achieve ABT1.
The partnership allows for leverage of important products such as the WWF's Living Planet Report, Our Planet and Earth Hour as well as the International Day for Biodiversity of the CBD amongst other projects in support of the Global Communications Strategy.

Work will be carried out through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and through the use of public environmental campaign activities, engagement with environmental education programmes including Education and Sustainable Development (EDS).

The MoU was recognised in a ceremonial signing session at COP 13, where representatives of CBD Parties discussed the way they would contribute to the Global Communications Strategy.

The Hon. Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico and President of CBD COP-13 witnessed the signing of the MoU.